Vodafone Said to Be in Talks With Netflix for Content Deal

Apr 17, 2014 4:30 pm ET

(Updates with closing share prices.)

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s second-largest mobile carrier, is in talks with Netflix Inc. to offer subscribers access to streaming movies and television shows, three people familiar with the discussions said.

A deal would give Vodafone customers free access to Netflix content for a period of time, the people said, asking not to be named because the agreement isn’t final. Talks are at an early stage, they said.

Vodafone is adding more content to its lineup as Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao transforms the company into a one-stop-shop for customers who want to access applications, entertainment, and files on fixed and mobile connections. The company announced deals last year that give U.K. customers free access to music service Spotify Ltd. or British Sky Broadcasting Group’s Sky Sports when they sign up for its high-speed, fourth- generation mobile network.

Simon Gordon, a spokesman for Newbury, England-based Vodafone, declined to comment on a potential deal.

“We have all kinds of arrangements with all kinds of operators, and we have nothing to say until we announce them,” Netflix spokesman Jonathan Friedland said.

The two companies overlap in the Netherlands, the U.K. and Ireland. Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, has more than 40 million customers worldwide.

Netflix rose 4.3 percent to $345.74 at the close in New York, the biggest gain since February. Vodafone added 1 percent to 214.15 pence ($3.60) in London trading.

--With assistance from Cliff Edwards in San Francisco and Anthony Palazzo in Los Angeles.